Erna Edel, 80, died peacefully in her home on Aug. 16, 2009 of complications due to Alzheimer’s.
She was born Oct. 28, 1928 to Heinrich and Maria Motz, in Jargara, Bessarabia, Romania, in a mud brick home. When school age, she simultaneously attended German and Romanian schools completing the fifth grade.
World War II forced the family to leave Jargara in October 1940 traveling extensively and finally settling in Poland in the fall of 1941. The fall of 1944 brought another adventure for Erna when she volunteered to go to Germany on an exchange program. She worked for a family helping them with their crops. In 1945, her family had to flee Poland in the middle of the night, finally settling in Ochsendorf, Germany. Erna’s communication with her family was infrequent. When her service finished in April 1945, she decided to travel with two girls to see the other’s parents. They decided that where one set of parents were the others must not be far away. As it turned out, they were correct and Erna rejoined her family there. In 1948, Erna’s father moved the family to Canada settling in Osoyoos, B.C.
She married David Edel on Feb. 22, 1951, in Osoyoos, B.C. They lived at Copper Mountain where she concentrated on making a home and learning the English language through the newspapers and listening to the radio. She gave birth to her first child, Linda, in 1955.
In 1955, Erna worked as the head cook at Alberta Bible Institute in Camrose, Alberta, while David attended classes. After David’s ordination in January 1958, Erna assisted David at the Hope Rescue Mission in Edmonton, Alberta. During this time they produced a half hour evangelical radio show called “The Mission Hour,” which included Erna as the story teller for “Kiddie’s Corner.” In July of 1960, Erna gave birth to her second child, Alan. In September of that year, over Labor Day weekend, the family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan to pastor their first church. In 1961, they moved to Osoyoos, B.C. Here Erna gave birth to her last two children: Norine, born in 1962 and Manda, born in 1963. In 1964, the family moved to Oroville where they ministered at the First Baptist Church until 1970.
The following years were spent raising her family, working in apple sheds, cleaning houses, selling various products (Shaklee, Fullerbrush and Tupperware) and caring for the elderly. Her passion was ministering in the church; her focus was children. One of her biggest accomplishments was starting and directing the CYC program at the Free Methodist Church, which continued for approximately 20 years. She also taught children’s classes and ran the bookstore at Conconully Camp for many years. Erna, along with David, was instrumental in beginning the community food bank and migrant day care in the later part of the 1960’s.
Survivors include her children: Linda Miller of Oroville, Alan Edel of San Jose, Calif., Norine Holderbein of Osoyoos, B.C. and Manda Cowin of Chehalis; one sister, Hildegard Jalovec of Osoyoos, B.C.; and two brothers: Adolf Motz of Osoyoos, B.C. and Sieghart Motz of Victoria, B.C. She was preceded in death by her parents, Heinrich and Maria Motz; her husband, David Edel; one brother, Fred Motz; and one sister, Hulda Banka.
Services will be held on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 at 11 a.m. at the Oroville Free Methodist Church with Rev. Tom Grejdus officiating.
Memorials are suggested to International Child Care, P.O. Box 664140, Indianapolis, IN 46266-4140; The Billy Graham Evangelical Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201-0001; World Vision, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716; or Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave. FI 17, Chicago, IL 60601-7633.
Bergh Funeral Service of Oroville in charge of arrangements.